Studying Endings, Day 0

NM blitzcopter
Jul 20, 2016, 8:53 PM |

It's been a long time coming, but everything is set up for me to finally start studying endings!

As I mentioned in my introduction post for Chess^Summit, I spent much of my childhood reading Yasser Seirawan's Winning Chess ___ books over and over again... except for the one on endgames! Draw your own conclusions.


Last night at the club (G/120, 5s delay; time wasn't an issue) I converted a slightly tricky rook ending. It felt more difficult than it should have, probably aided by late-night fatigue (guessing same for my opponent, since he's 80 years old, though he still maintains a solid 1800+ rating), but also because I probably need to work on endgames. So here are the endgame-neophyte thoughts from the game.

I actually left my scoresheet at the club but managed to reproduce the game (with the possible exception of opening move order), which is remarkable because I usually have trouble remembering late in the opening even with games I've played just before I try.

Of course, a difficult win is the best motivation for the next step. I've thought about practicing endgames against engines for a while but never managed to set anything up correctly. Today:

  1. try to figure out Stockfish one last time
  2. complained about how all this chess software is for Windows (I Mac for development reasons and look where that gets me)
  3. found out Komodo <= 8 is free
  4. could only find Mac version for Komodo 3, but I guess 3000 ELO is strong enough
  5. downloaded ChessX, couldn't figure out how to add engines
  6. downloaded Scid vs. Mac, figured out how to add engines
  7. found out a single FEN string constitutes a PGN file
  8. complained about how bad chess software UI is (makes me wonder what my designer supervisor at work would think)
  9. found out what "paste FEN" means (apparently it takes no input and is only meant to be clicked after uploading a file). Now I know how to set up arbitrary positions in Scid vs. Mac.
  10. figured out how to play a game against an engine in Scid vs. Mac.
  11. also figured out how to play a game against Stockfish on iPhone but not worth

...and it works! I tested it with a simple Lucena position (one of the two nontrivial rook ending topics I remember off the top of my head). Finally, time for the infamous bishop+knight mate with Komodo at 5 sec/move:

Oops, that's embarassing. One more try?

Sweet! Completed a preliminary round of endgame training.